Some fans were questioning whether they will even attend the festival now because of the trial
EE has responded to health concerns regarding the announcement that they will be trialling a 5G mobile network at this year’s Glastonbury.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the trial would mark the first time the technology has been used at a festival. The move was said to be offering internet speeds that double what 4G is capable of – ahead of it being rolled out across the UK later this year.
With EE set to be installing five temporary masts across Worthy Farm, Pete Jeavons, EE and BT’s Marketing and Communications Director, said: “Smartphones have become a festival must-have as we’ve seen each year with more and more data being consumed at Glastonbury Festival.
“As the long-standing technology partner to this iconic event, we are committed to building a network powerful enough to cope with this huge demand. With the introduction of 5G this year, we are able to trial this new technology at Worthy Farm and make history as the UK’s first 5G-connected festival.”
However, not everyone was impressed with the news. While many scientists believe 5G to be perfectly safe, there are some, including a University of California public health professor, who have described 5G as “a massive experiment on the health of all species.”
Villagers Against Masts (VAM), an organisation in Cornwall, have launched various campaigns to call for extensive tests of mobile phone technology and coverage, citing serious concerns over health risks, especially mental health.
“Since researching the health effects, I have a real concern over masts, but also Wi-Fi and the looming 5G technology,” said Jane Harvey, founding member of VAM, according to PlymouthLive. “5G is not good at all. Unfortunately, Cornwall and Cumbria have been chosen to trial 5G in rural areas.
“The US has seen 5G rolling out in many places, impacting human health, wildlife and the environment. 5G requires closer connectivity, a mast every 10-20 houses. So, imagine the countryside dotted with these. Also, once they get permission for one mast on an AONB, a precedent is set and it would be very tricky to stop more.”
According to Harvey, there has been massive spikes in depression and anxiety, as well as a host of other complaints, following the rollout of 5G in the US.
“5G is a weapons grade frequency,” she added. “There is no knowing the future implications for us – we are the guinea pigs.”
EE has now issued a statement to NME, saying that they are not rolling out the reported “weapons grade” frequency across the Worthy Farm site.
Responding to the backlash, Howard Jones, Head of Network Communications for EE, said: “The fundamental problem with the objections to 5G, the details in the petitions, and the reporting of them in press is the simple misunderstanding about what 5G is and what we’re rolling out: we are not deploying mmWave frequencies as people like Jane Harvey assume.
“mmWave refers to frequencies above 28GHz. This is what people have referred to as a ‘weapons grade’ frequency. This is the technology that would, if deployed, require a significant increase in the number of sites.”
Jones added: “But this is not coming to the UK – and not to Glastonbury.”
Clarifying what new mobile technology will be in place at this year’s festival, he said: “We are rolling out 5G on 3.4GHz spectrum. This is very similar to 4G, 3G and 2G, which operates on a spectrum between 800MHz and 2.6GHz. We will roll 5G out using existing sites – there will be no increase in sites.
“All the commentary on mmWave is irrelevant to the UK. Irrelevant to what any operator in the UK is rolling out. And irrelevant to Glastonbury.”
Jones went on to assure that “there are strict rules on the amount of emissions from a mobile site and all 5G will be rolled out within those guidelines.” He also stated that “there are no proven health concerns around 5G.”
Many took to social media to express their concerns following initial reports of the new plans. You can see those below:
Earlier today, disappointed Glastonbury fans took to social media after missing out on this morning’s ticket resale. Meanwhile, The Met Office has made its predictions on what the weather will be like at this year’s festival.